The FIRST Robotics Lapeer Chimeras Team 1684, along with a number of new partners, will host Lapeer’s third annual Robo-Con on Saturday, July 23 at the Lapeer Center for Innovation (formerly Lapeer West High School) from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
One of Lapeer’s robotics pioneers, Tony Diodato, of Cypress Integrations Systems, said, “We want to get the community out and really understand what we do. It’s pretty awesome.”
FIRST (For Inspiration on Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics combines excitement with hands-on training in science and technology to help high school students discover how rewarding a career in engineering or technology can be. Every student on a FIRST robotics team has a chance to turn pro, and the experience gained often leads to college scholarships and opportunities.
Of the convention, Diodato said, “We wanted to have Robo-Con on July 20th, which is the date we landed on the moon. The greatest engineering accomplishmnt of all time. But we figured Saturday, the 19th would be better. So whatever weekend lands closest to the 20th will be our Robo-Con from now on. We’re making it technology weekend.”
In keeping with the moon landing theme, the sponsors and founders of the event are called the Apollo 11 Founding Members, and include a few new supporters. The Apollo 11 team now includes the View Newspaper Group, Cypress Integration Solutions, The Robot Space, Lapeer Community Schools and Lapeer Robotics.
“As a community newspaper organization, it is important for View Newspaper Group to find new and exciting ways to engage with the communities we serve,” said View Newspaper Group Brand Manager Emily Caswell. “Events – like our annual View Brew Fest – are a great way to do just that. We had been looking for a way to expand our offerings of community events, so when the opportunity to partner with Robo-Con became available, we jumped at the chance. We are long-time supporters of robotics programs in Lapeer County and were impressed by the steady growth of this free, family-friendly, educational day of fun. We look forward to helping the Robo-Con team grow their event in the years to come.”
“Thanks, in large part, to events like Robo-Con, the success of our robotics program is no longer the best- kept secret in the district,” said LCS Superintendent Matt Wandrie.” If you want to see some of our best, brightest and most ambitious students, just spend a few moments with our robotics students at CFI. These students embody 21st century learning as well as any educator could model for them. We’ve seen so many of our robotics students receive scholarships to some of the nation’s best colleges and universities; many of those students will tell you that their experience with robotics laid the foundation for their academic success. Further, I think anyone who hasn’t seen a FIRST Robotics competition up close will be shocked; the level of competitiveness, teamwork and excitement is impressive.
According to Elizabeth Lowe, a parent and volunteer, the event will be free and will include a Battle of the Bots and an underwater robots exhibit, attendees will be able to compete and participate in a number of different challenges, drive a robot, watch exhibition matches between robotics teams, and get photos with the B9 Robot from Lost in Space. There will also be food from Woodchips Real American Barbeque.